If you have a parent or other family member who suffers from a physical or mental disability which interferes with their ability to make appropriate decisions concerning their welfare and finances, you may need to consider filing a petition with the local probate court to be appointed as a Guardian and/or Conservator.

In Georgia, a Guardian is appointed for a person (“Ward”) who is unable to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning his or her health or safety. The Guardian has the power over the Ward similar to the power a parent has over a minor child, subject to the rights reserved by the Court for the Ward. This allows the Guardian to consent to medical care, decide where the Ward is going to live, and many other decisions involved in the day-to-day life of a disabled adult. Each year, the Guardian has to file a

In contrast, a Conservator is appointed for a Ward who is unable to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning their property. The Conservator has the legal authority to make decisions for an incapacitated adult, subject to certain procedures and rules set by Georgia law. Except in cases with very limited assets and income, a Conservator must post a bond with the probate court to cover the value of the Ward’s assets. They also have to submit an annual budget and accounting for the income and expenses of the Ward during the past year.

Petitions for Guardianship and Conservatorship are filed in the probate court of the Ward’s county of residence or where the Ward is found. Any interested person can file a petition asking the Court to appoint a Guardian and/or Conservator for a proposed Ward. However, the petition must be sworn to by two petitioners, one of whom may be a physician, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker who has examined the Ward within the last 15 days.

If you or loved one needs to discuss the possibility of filing for Guardianship or Conservatorship, the probate lawyers at Durden & Mills, PC can assist you. Call us at (706) 543-4708 for a free consultation.